When I was 19 I spent some time working at a small school in Northern Kenya. It was my first real taste of freedom after finishing my A-Levels. The contrast between Africa and a decade in English boarding schools was intense and exhilarating.
I loved every minute of teaching the kids, playing football with them, and trying to teach them English despite me not speaking any Swahili. However, one of my favourite tasks was doing the weekly shopping run. This was because I was allowed to drive the old battered Land Rover into the nearby town of Nanyuki. I would drive along the pot-holed roads, dodging cows and dreaming of having my own Land Rover to explore Africa with.
My idea found the motivation it needed when an extremely proactive friend of mine came out to join me. We swiftly resolved to one day return to Africa and to travel from Cape Town to Cairo. Back in London we opened a joint bank account and committed to transferring £50 into it each month via direct debit . When we could save more than £50 we did.
Three years later and we were coming to the end of our undergraduate degrees. We had over £5000 in the bank. After our summer exams we found ourselves in Cape Town staying with my godfather, the proud owners of a 1971 Series IIa Land Rover, complete with a tent bolted to the roof and a fridge in the boot. We took 97 days to travel from Cape Town to Cairo, visiting 10 countries along the way. And we had the trip of a lifetime.
Obviously there was a lot more planning involved than what I have described here. However, we would never have got anywhere near making the dream a reality had we not decided to start saving. What was a pipe dream in 2003 had become a reality by 2006.
If you don’t have a savings account aimed at a dream trip, car, or adventure… why not? My current one is called the ‘Double Decker Bus Savings Account’. I’m sharing it with 5 friends. £10 each per week. It might take us slightly longer than 3 years to save for it. But one day I hope to drive it to China and back.